European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 257–260

Mental and physical health of out of school children in a South African township

  • Holan Liang
  • Alan J. Flisher
  • Derek O. Chalton
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION

DOI: 10.1007/s00787-002-0294-y

Cite this article as:
Liang, H., Flisher, A. & Chalton, D. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2002) 11: 257. doi:10.1007/s00787-002-0294-y

Abstract.

Background: Poor school attendance has negative consequences for the individual and society. We investigated physical and mental health correlates of school attendance amongst black children in Cape Town, South Africa. Methods: We undertook a cross-sectional community study of children, aged 6–16 years, living in Khayelitsha township. Multistage sampling produced a sample of 499 children. They, and/or their parents, were interviewed using a Xhosa translation of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version 2.3 (DISC-2.3). Prevalence of mental and physical health problems of school attenders were compared with those of non-attenders. Results: 23.6 % of children were not attending school. Young children from unserviced areas were at particular risk. Male school attenders suffered higher levels of chronic illness than non-attenders. No differences in the prevalences of psychiatric disorders were found. Conclusions: There is no significant excess of physical or mental health problems in out of school children. Poverty plays an important role in failure to attend school.

Key words school-attendance – South Africa – psychopathology 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holan Liang
    • 1
  • Alan J. Flisher
    • 2
  • Derek O. Chalton
    • 2
  1. 1.Pervasive Developmental Disorder Department, The Michael Rutter Centre for Children and Young People, The Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UKGB
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory 7925, South AfricaZA

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